For the fifth year in a row, the Dawson Community College Buccaneers started their Region XIII Post-Season Tournament with a win. The third seeded Bucs faced off with the same Bismarck State Mystics who they defeated four days ago by 34 points. The sixth seeded Mystics made it a lot tougher this time around as they came out of the gates hot from long range. Bismarck went 9-14 from the 3-point line in the opening 20 minutes. Grant Kohlus went 4-5 from deep and Drew Pearson went 3-4. Even forward Leyton Lang got into the act hitting two three-pointers on three attempts. Much of Dawson’s scoring came on the offensive glass where they collected nine offensive rebounds and scored 14 second chance points. There were five ties and four lead changes in the first half, but Dawson held the advantage most of the way with their largest lead being eight points. With 26 seconds to go in the half, Drew Pearson connected from long range to tie the game at 45, but Dawson had the last word with a momentum swinging three-pointer at the buzzer by Man Man Baker who scored eight points in the half. Camron Dunfee led Dawson with 10 points. Three Mystics scored in double figures including Austin Slaughter with 12 points, Kohlus with 12 and Pearson’s 11 points. Both teams turned it over nine times. The Bucs dominated the glass 25-12.
The second half story was similar to the first. Dawson stayed in the lead most of the way, but Bismarck wouldn’t let them get away. Halfway through the second half the Mystics tied it up. Dawson’s Eric Jackson responded with a 3-pointer and CJ Nelson followed it up with a driving lay-up and then a 3-pointer to help them build an eight point lead they would never relinquish. Dawson’s defense tightened up in the second half and they took advantage of Bismarck inside to shoot 53% in the final twenty minutes. Their dominance on the boards continued in the second half with a 24-11 advantage. Four Bucs finished the game in double figures led by Dunfee’s 17 and Baker’s 15. Jaron Masis contributed 11 points and Jackson finished with 13. Devin Collins finished with 8 points and a game high 12 rebounds. The Bucs outrebounded Bismarck 49-23 on the night, including 16 on the offensive end which led to 22 points. Slaughter led the Mystics with 22 points and 7 rebounds.
The quarterfinal win puts Dawson in the semifinals Friday night in Williston at 5:30 pm CST against #2 seed and reigning champions, North Dakota State College of Science. The teams split their two contests during the regular season. In the second half of the Friday doubleheader, #1 seed Williston State College will play #4 seed Lake Region State College at 7:30 pm CST.
With the win, Dawson reached the 20 win mark for the second straight year.